The Internet of Things (IoT) – referred to by some as Factory 4.0 or Industry 4.0 – is ushering in a revolution on the factory floor -- one with clear implications for HVACR contractors and distributors.
With the adoption and deployment of smaller, less expensive sensors, the development of advanced analytics and the commodity storage options provided by the cloud, companies everywhere are embracing the opportunities for IoT’s transformative business applications, HVACR companies among them. Why? It’s a big business.
U.S. manufacturers are already delivering or planning to deliver, products with IoT capabilities. Connected HVACR solutions will offer the kind of contractor value that can lead to competitive advantage by offering customers potential benefits like these:
• The tracking of system performance
• Predictive maintenance
• More predictable downtime
• Compliance with environmental regulations
• Custom configurations
• Analysis/drill-down data that allows contractors to identify performance issues
• Mobile device functionality for ease of monitoring, intelligence gathering, and analytics
Download our white paper How to Capitalize on HVAC/R Trends to Drive Business Growth to learn what HVAC/R contractors and distributors must do now to capitalize on new and emerging IoT technologies in the market place.Where are HVACR companies now with IoT implementation?
Some of the major players and the residential contractors that support them are still in the ‘early-adopter’ stage. Security products like locks and window or door sensors, as well as IoT lighting solutions, are the most popular. With the advent of Alexa and other voice command hubs, there’s more interest in items for convenience, like connected outlets.On the commercial side
Commercially, IoT-enabled buildings are leveraging internal and external information sources to create actions and workflow that benefit energy efficiency, tenant comfort, building health and/or operational excellence.
This presents an immediate opportunity for HVACR contractors to embrace IoT technologies and the creation of IoT-enabled buildings. One of the major benefits that IoT-enabled buildings will create for HVACR contractors is the advantage of information for remote diagnostics, troubleshooting, and solving building issues before they move to the critical stage. In addition, more and more customers will expect upgraded levels of IoT-enabled control over devices and the ability to view more comprehensive operational data.On the residential end
A growing number of HVACR residential customers are not monitoring how well their system is operating overall and when it’s time for a cleaning. IoT enabled systems can email the customer in real-time if there is an urgent issue with a component or when it’s time to change their filter.
IoT enabled thermostats can also communicate with the furnace and air conditioner. Once set up, it will send notifications to designated email addresses for anything from regular maintenance reminders to replacing filters, as well as alarms if there is a problem with the equipment.
Currently, IoT products gaining the most traction are wireless Energy Management Systems (EMS) and associated sensors and controls, smart thermostats, mini-split Wi-Fi controls, and most recently, Wi-Fi lead detection and freeze detection sensors.
Where HVACR partners and collaborators are at today
As technology progresses on both the residential and commercial sides, HVACR contractors will have to undergo additional training on the new tools available to them. This is a role that distributors can fill. Contractors may also have to rethink their customer relationships. With continuous access to data that matters to their customers, relationships will change from reactive (dealing with breakdowns) to proactive and long-term.
Download our white paper How to Capitalize on HVAC/R Trends to Drive Business Growth to learn what HVAC/R contractors and distributors must do now to capitalize on new and emerging IoT technologies in the market place.
Article contributed by the Parker Global Team
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